One news story that’s been grabbing all the headlines in the digital industry recently. Something that could only happen in 2018. Kylie Jenner sent Snapchat’s share value spiralling down by 6% – the equivalent of $1.3 billion. With a single tweet…
sooo does anyone else not open Snapchat anymore? Or is it just me… ugh this is so sad.
— Kylie Jenner (@KylieJenner) February 21, 2018
A lot of business owners’ first reaction to this might be fear. The fact that one person can have such a massive impact on a globally-recognised brand certainly says something about the state of the digital world.
But instead of being intimidated by digital, you should really see it as an opportunity. Whilst the odds of a single tweet having such a significant impact on your business is slim to say the least, this example gives some insight into just how powerful influencers can be.
As a result of this, ‘influencer marketing’ is something that’s becoming increasingly popular amongst brands. Especially with those targeting younger audiences. Did you know that 67% of marketers promote content with the help of influencers?
What is influencer marketing?
By definition, influencer marketing is “a form of marketing in which focus is placed on influential people rather than the target market as a whole. It identifies the individuals that have influence over potential buyers, and orients marketing activities around these influencers.”
In short this means tapping into the audience and reach of an influential person. An ‘influencer’ can be anyone with authority, influence or power, usually with a similar audience to your own. In most cases influencers are celebrities, such as Kylie Jenner, but this could even be an influential person in your industry or local community. It’s up to you to work out how much value an individual could add to your brand and whether it would generate a worthwhile ROI.
Why influencer marketing?
Reach the audiences that PPC can’t
As of last year, 16% of internet users in the UK use ad blockers. And with Google recently launching their built-in ad blocker on Chrome, this figure is sure to rise. Ad blockers generally block ‘intrusive’ ads across web pages; most notably pop-up ads, banner ads and large sticky ads. But depending on the ad blocker in question, it could even block social sharing buttons, campaign tracking and other components that aren’t actually ads. This can understandably be a nightmare for marketers. As more and more consumers adopt ad blockers, influencer marketing will play an increasingly larger role for brands looking to reach their target audiences.
Tap into new audiences
One of the most obvious benefits of influencer marketing is that it offers you a direct route into established audiences, some of which you may never have engaged with before. And because the influencers already have an audience of loyal followers you won’t need to spend budget on testing or finding the right audience. Therefore, if you already know the audience that you want to target all it takes is some in-depth research to pinpoint some of the common influencers in their space.
You may have experienced it yourself. One of the biggest problems in the world of social media is building trust. Mainly because all it takes is one mistake to damage the reputation of a whole brand. As most influencers already have an audience that trusts them, this can be a much more effective channel to help improve the perception of your brand amongst certain demographics. You won’t need to spend as much time and money trying to build trust with these audiences before going in for the ‘hard-sell’.
After working with a few different influencers, try to grow your relationship with the ones that help to achieve the best results. Why not invite them to an event you’re attending, or even take them out for a meal? As your relationship with the influencer develops your relationship with their audience will too, further building this crucial element of trust.
Strengthen brand awareness
As we mentioned, influencer marketing can give your brand a huge boost in reach and brand authority. Putting your brand in front of these new audiences will do wonders for your brand awareness, especially if you stay consistent with it over time.
It may be one of the harder metrics to measure, but improving brand awareness is something that really does pay off for businesses. Getting your brand’s name in front of people may not directly generate sales, but it can help raise your profile significantly. Which, if taken advantage of, does generate sales. Next time an advert from your brand pops up on Facebook, maybe that person will recognise your product from their favourite influencer and click through.
It sounds better coming from somebody else
Having a trusted influencer spread the love for your brand can do wonders in reinforcing your brand’s message. You can deliver a custom advert to your desired audience without it coming across as an advert or sounding like you’re blowing smoke up your own arse. Even if you are blowing smoke up your own arse. On top of this, people are a lot more likely to take notice of your brand than they would with an ‘in-your-face’ advertisement. Ask yourself this; would you take more notice of a product that’s been recommended by your favourite celebrity or from an advert that’s been following you around the internet?
How can I use influencer marketing for my business?
By now you should have some understanding of just how powerful influencer marketing can be. And the best thing about it is you don’t just need to be a global brand with a 9-figure marketing budget to make the most of it. Whether you’re just starting up or you’re celebrating your 50th year in business, we have no doubt that influencer marketing can add value to your marketing strategy.
But one of the biggest obstacles in the process of putting together that killer influencer marketing campaign is coming up with that original idea. We’ve rounded up a few different things that you could try.
Show off your product
If you’ve just launched a new product or service then influencer marketing can be a really powerful tool to give it some extra exposure. Whether you want to get influencers involved in the official launch event, put together an exciting video with them for social media or even offer free samples of your product in exchange for a review of your product, there’s so much that you could do with this.
Run a competition
Competitions are always a great way to generate some engagement, and it can be a nice way to reward your customers. Hosting a free giveaway in collaboration with an influencer works really well. If you’re a heavy Instagram user you probably will have seen this in action at some point. Make sure to read into the legalities of running competitions on certain social channels beforehand though, as some platforms have tight guidelines on what you can and can’t do.
Build a relationship
One of the cheaper influencer marketing techniques is using social media to build a relationship with the influencer. Something as simple as liking, sharing and commenting on their content (ensuring to provide value) over an extended period of time can help build this relationship. Then before you know it, this influencer may share posts from your brand accounts in return. If your brand is active on Twitter, why not set up a few different influencer Twitter Lists to make it easier to share their content? The Buffer Google Chrome Extension can also be a crucial tool in this process.
Just to note, the higher you get up the ‘influencer food chain’, the more likely they are to charge money for sharing your branded content. If you have a smaller budget then it may take longer to find appropriate influencers that are within budget, but it’s certainly doable. You often find that whilst these lesser-known influencers have a smaller audience they do have a more loyal following, which pays dividends when pushing your brand.
This is something that you can do on top of your other influencer marketing efforts. Whenever you work with an influencer, it could be an idea to offer them an ‘affiliate link’. This is a customised link with tracking code built in, whereby the influencer receives a commission every time they sell one of your products through the link. It’s just another way of encouraging the influencers you work with to put their all into pushing your brand.
From hosting a pop-up event to inviting an influencer to spend the day at your offices, your options are literally endless. If you’re really stuck for on the creative side of things, why not sit down with your team and bounce ideas off each other? Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone – it’s these campaigns that are often the most effective. For added impact try combining influencer marketing with some of the more traditional online and offline techniques, such as social ads or TV ads.
The power of influencer marketing really shouldn’t be underestimated. It’s a great alternative to PPC or social advertising, but also something that can be used in collaboration with your existing campaigns to boost results across the board. Whether you’re a small business or a global enterprise, influencer marketing is something that we would wholeheartedly recommend you experimenting with.
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